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City Launches “city of stories” programming for chicagoans of all ages this summer

Mayor Lori Lightfoot minimum wage

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Public Library (CPL) launched “City of Stories,” an all-ages and citywide approach to summer programming across through discovery, learning and fun at all 81 Library locations. From June 27 through August 14, “City of Stories” offers a mix of online and in-person events and resources focused on education, engagement, and safety for children, teens and adults. This year’s program celebrates stories that explore people, community and culture and the common themes that connect Chicagoans together.

“This year’s ‘City of Stories’ will offer residents opportunities at our libraries throughout the summer to explore and share how stories connect us with each other, build relationships, and strengthen our communities.” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This programming will give neighborhoods a sense of community and call upon our residents to be engaged with the City by visiting public library branches and exploring the activities provided in each one”

CPL shares Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to ensuring that Chicago’s young people remain safe, engaged and supported this summer. The Library continues to work with our partner organizations – the City of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the American Writer’s Museum, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, After School Matters, and the Chicago Public Library Foundation – to offer dynamic and engaging programming throughout the city this summer.

“Chicago Public Library’s beloved Summer at CPL program is back with hundreds of free and inspiring programs,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown. “Through this year’s theme, City of Stories, we’re engaging Chicagoans, especially our young people, in creative events that celebrate our diverse voices throughout our 81 neighborhood library locations.”

For more youth activities, teens and parents can download the My Chi. My Future app, designed specifically to connect all youth with a variety of programming and many opportunities to stay busy and engaged all summer long.

CPL’s research-based and award-winning summer program has traditionally been designed for children and teens to develop literacy skills and participate in cultural enrichment and civic engagement activities outside of the structured classroom setting. According to research from the Brookings Institute, children who are not engaged in learning over the summer lose up to three months of math and science knowledge, which puts them significantly behind their peers. This disparity is particularly stark amongst students of color, who were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the educational challenges it caused.

Chicago Public Library encourages children to read 20 minutes daily and participate in thematic activities for student learning growth. Last year, Chicagoans combined to read more 20 million minutes over the summer, which is especially important after two years of pandemic learning for students. This summer, the program will include a combination of virtual and in-person events, with options for participation to suit the needs of every family. Neighborhood libraries will feature grab-and-go kits, enhanced library materials and collections, as well as an Activity Guide for all children who register for the program.

Participating youth will tell their stories and the stories of their communities through the avenues of written and spoken word, art-making or digital media production. CPL will partner with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and Chicago Park District (CPD) to host cultural activities in every neighborhood and every branch, such art making, music, storytelling workshops, author talks and much more through the new Culture in Our Neighborhood initiative.

city of stories - Chicago Public Library YOUMEDIA

The Library’s well-known YOUmedia program for teens is available at 29 locations, where teens can explore podcasting, gaming, beat and music making and many other positive opportunities. YOUmedia provides safe spaces for teens to explore their interests and passions with mentorship from library teen staff.

CPL has added an adult component to this year’s summer program so adults of all ages, from college students to seniors, can participate in activities such as bookmaking grab and go kits, genealogy workshops, learn how to become a story teller, writing workshops, book clubs and workshops with The Art Institute of Chicago.

“City of Stories” is happening at all 81 Chicago Public Library locations for free. Children and teens can register for the program online and participants of all ages can learn more on the CPL website. Summer participants will once again receive a free family ticket to the Art Institute of Chicago. For more neighborhood-specific program information, Chicagoans can contact their local branch or search for opportunities by zip code on the library’s Events Calendar.

For the first full summer, all CPL locations are open on Sunday, so Chicagoans can visit their local library seven days a week. The Library encourages all to visit their local library for special programming, great book recommendations and connecting with their neighbors. Families will have opportunities throughout the summer to engage and share their work on social media by tagging CPL (@chipublib on Twitter or @chicagopubliclibrary on Instagram) and using #SummeratCPL.

“City of Stories” summer programming at Chicago Public Library would not be possible without generous support from Allstate, Comcast, Amazon, the Helen M. Harrison Foundation, KPMG, Wintrust, Cubs Charities, The Dr. Scholl Foundation, Walter E. Heller Foundation, Exelon, Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, the Oppenheimer Family Foundation, the Kathy and Grant Pick Fund at the Chicago Community Trust, and other donors through the Library Foundation.

The Library’s summer programs build upon the City’s commitment to keeping families and youth safe, engaged, and empowered through My CHI. My Future. And One Summer Chicago. More information on the City’s summer is available at

About Chicago Public Library

Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment, and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 81 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits, and programs for children, teens, and adults. For more information, please call (312) 747-4300 or visit To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib), Facebook (Chicago Public Library), or Instagram (@chicagopubliclibrary).

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